Pregnancy and Beyond: 9 Great Nursery Decorating Tips

April 13, 2014 Linda Rosenkrantz

By Meg Caswell, HGTV Star
They say the “nesting gene” tends to kick in during the third trimester for most new mothers. As a designer however, I’ve been nesting from day one! Here are my top tips for creating a calming, beautiful baby room without breaking the bank.

1) It’s The Baby‘s Room – But You Have To Live In It
Every parent wants their baby’s room to be perfect but keep in mind that your baby won’t be able to fully appreciate your design aesthetic for quite a while. Therefore, when designing your nursery feel free to go with style that you enjoy. Pick colors, furniture, and artwork that calms you and makes you feel at home. Babies pick up on their parents’ moods so the more at ease you are, the more at ease your baby will be.
2) Start With What You Like. 
First thing’s first – choose a color palette. Don‘t feel pressured to pick pastel colors just because you think that’s what you’re supposed to do. I began designing my own nursery using the same color palette I used in my wedding. The brilliant pops of Kelly green in our new nursery will always remind me of one of the happiest days of my life. What better way to decorate for the happiest moment to come?

3) Incorporate Your Partner’s Taste
In decorating for yourself, you still want to bear your partner’s taste in mind. After all if we expect our partners to put in an equal share of nighttime feedings and diaper changes, they should also get some say in the decor. Though my husband does not have strong opinions when it comes to decorating, I wanted to include him in our son’s room. I found a piece of artwork from my husband’s childhood bedroom which I will be repurposing for use in our new nursery.

4) Mix It Up
Most people do not walk into a store and buy complete matching furniture sets for their living room; why then, do we do this in our nurseries? Your nursery should reflect the same personal selection and style that goes into every other room in your house. A good tack: Start with a beautiful crib, which is one piece of furniture you may have to buy new, and move out from there.

5) Re-Use Furniture From Other Rooms
Before you blow the bank on all new baby furniture, look around your house and see if you have any existing furniture that may be re-used or repurposed for the nursery. For example, I found I had a dresser and bookcase in my house which would be lovely in the baby’s room. A new coat of paint does wonders to transform an existing piece of furniture into a perfect piece for baby’s room.

6) Keep Themes Subtle
While it’s important to select a theme when decorating any room, in a baby’s room it can be easy to get carried away. Just as your furniture doesn’t need to be matchy matchy your theme does not need to permeate every aspect of the room. My husband loves sailing and I have a beachy coastal style so we chose a nautical theme for our son’s room. I’ve incorporated this theme using subtle details. A bit of rope trim on the curtains, a wooden fish cut from recycled wood from an old barn to hang on the wall, and brass porthole mirrors display the theme without going overboard. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist the pun!)

7)  Don’t Get Too Busy
If you’ve ever stepped into a baby store you know that many baby products come in a variety of bright saturated colors. If your nursery is similarly decorated, you’ll soon be stepping into a riot of color every time you enter the room – not very calming. To help balance the inevitable influx of color, keep decor somewhat neutral so you aren’t overwhelmed by color and pattern once all the toys and accessories are in. The Kelly green I mentioned before is balanced by the inclusion of all black furniture within the room. This way the color can pop without hurting anyone’s eyes.

8) Branch Out From Baby Fabric
Again, it’s the baby’s room but you have to live with it! Baby fabric can often feel too busy or too cutesy for some people. Don’t be afraid to use “adult” fabrics. Who says style is only for grown-ups? A bold artistic print on the curtains can really pull the room together without overwhelming the rest of the decor. And there are lots of crib sheets and other bedding available so cute you’d use it in your own room!

9) Incorporate Some Antique Pieces
Not everything in the nursery needs to be brand spanking new. Give the room a sense of history by incorporating vintage artwork or antique furniture into the decor. I found an antique rocking horse that lends the nursery some history and that can act as beautiful functional piece of artwork when the baby is older.

With these tips in mind, you can enjoy designing and decorating your baby’s room over the course of your pregnancy. Save some money by adding personal touches to existing pieces in your home and your baby’s room will be an intimate, peaceful place for years to come.

Meg Casswell has recently completed 18 episodes of Meg‘s Great Rooms on HGTV since becoming the season six winner of Design Star, along with half a dozen specials and guest judge spots on the network. 


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